Monday, May 01, 2006

From the trenches of a photo contest...

The postmark deadline for the 18th annual photo contest occurred on Saturday, the 29th. More than five USPS mail crates awaited me today. Those are in addition to the five crates already sorted and set aside. The next two or three days might bring five more 18" long by 11" tall by 12" wide crates full of photo entries.

Warning: pet peeve ahead. Two of those sorted crates contain envelopes that did not designate a category in the lower left-hand corner. This irritates me, perhaps more than it should. Let me know what you think after reading the rest of this post.

The rules say the category must appear on the envelope, and the category's absence gives me two options. One: If it's a fairly flat envelope, likely containing just one entry, I'm going to set it aside and not bother to open it. Two: If it's a bulky large envelope, likely containing multiple entries -- which could be in individual and labeled envelopes -- then I'll open it to see if my theory of multiple entries is correct.

Some folks think that I'm mean or unfair to disregard the thin, unlabeled envelopes. I think that I'm practical and time-efficient.

The rules exist for a reason. This particular rule allows me to efficiently sort the entries, a dire necessity with the possibility of opening and evaluating more than 1,500 entries. (Last year's contest involved more than 1,900 entries.)

While assistant editor Patti Carpenter helps me by opening the entries, I'm responsible for the initial judging of all the images. That's one person, facing hundreds of prints, slides and CDs (which require more time than the other formats).

So, am I mean or unfair to adhere to a simple rule that streamlines the process?

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